It’s Getting Hot In Here!

It’s July…and it’s hot. At least here in central NC! I saw someone post on social media the other day some pictures from church signage that said, “If you think it’s hot here, imagine hell.” And another that said, “This heatwave is temporary, be certain you won’t face an eternal one.” The one that made me laugh probably a little too hard was, “Whoever stole our AC unit…keep it. It’s hot where you’re headed.”

Now, I’m not advocating for that messaging in the least, but it did get me thinking about our message tomorrow that is centered around the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. These three young Jewish men had been experiencing favor with King Nebuchadnezzar until…well, they weren’t. You see, the king had the idea that he would have a large golden image set up in Babylon. He assembled many from the area for a dedication and commanded that when they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, or all type of music, that they would fall down and worship the image.

This was, of course, an issue for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were sold out for the God of Abraham and would not bow down. When summoned before the king to respond to the allegations that they were not following the commandment, their response was bold and straightforward; even when disobedience would surely mean death – in this case, death in a fiery hot furnace. Verses 16-18 say, “16 King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

I want you to pay close attention to the words that begin verse 18: “But even if he does not…” While they had complete confidence that God COULD deliver them from the fatal fate of King Nebuchadnezzar, their confidence was not in a specific outcome, but rather God’s omnipotence to deliver them on an eternal level…not just from that temporal situation.

This got me thinking…what situations am I facing, some of them even difficult, that I am carrying an expectation for God to deliver me from in a specific way? Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that God wants us to pray boldly and specifically to Him, but where does that become pigeon-holing God into an expectation that may not be His plan? Similar to praying the end of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, have I truly put my trust in God for His deliverance? The one that will bring glory to His name?

Tomorrow we’ll dive into this story more and I encourage you to find us online in a Facebook Watch Party or on YouTube or iCampus. We’d love to see you!

Dave Bookhout
Global Creative Arts & Worship Pastor

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